Support for people on sickness benefits to get back into the workplace

Published on Monday, 14 May 2012 13:54
Posted by Scott Buckler

Thousands of people who have been on sickness benefits for more than 15 years have been found fit to work and will now get support to help them back into a job, new analysis reveals today

Of the first 47,400 Incapacity Benefit (IB) claimants to be reassessed and found fit to work, 27 per cent –12,900 – had been on the benefit for more than 10 years. Eight per cent – 3,900 – had been on the benefit for more than 15 years.

They will get support from Jobcentre Plus and the Work Programme to help them back into a job as Government reforms of the welfare system continue.

Since October 2010 the Government has been reassessing people on IB to see whether they are capable of working or are entitled to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Today’s figures are the result of further analysis of statistics published in March about the first group of IB claimants to be reassessed.

The new analysis also shows that those people who need the most support are getting the help they need. More than one third  – 37 per cent – of people who have been claiming IB for 15 years or more were put into the ESA support group.

ESA looks at what a person can do rather than what they cannot. People who have been told they are unable to do one job may be able to do another and will be helped through Jobcentre Plus and the Work Programme to find employment. Those not in the support group but not fit enough to work immediately are entitled to ESA in the Work-Related Activity Group, where they receive financial support and can prepare for a return to suitable work.

Minister for Employment Chris Grayling said:

    "I want people to reach their potential. The Work Programme will help someone to find a job but will also help them overcome the barriers they face.

    "The fact so many people were left to languish on Incapacity Benefit for nearly two decades with no support or hope when they could have been helped back into work shows that our welfare reforms are the right course of action."

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